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  1. Burke, Lora E. PhD, MPH, RN
  2. Fair, Joan ANP, PhD


Preventive therapies have been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease. However, health care providers are not addressing prevention and not treating patients according to evidence-based guidelines. Reasons frequently cited for not delivering health promotion/disease prevention oriented care is lack of training or skills to provide counseling, and a lack of confidence in health care provider skills. This article outlines the skills and attributes considered essential for a health care provider to promote behavioral change and risk reduction. The skills and attributes of the health care provider, such as expertise and knowledge, skills for assessing readiness for behavior change, relationship building skills, and skill in considering the patient's attitudes and beliefs about the disease or treatment are discussed. Principles of communication to guide the patient-provider encounter, key behavioral change strategies, and use of technology are reviewed and resources available to support prevention goals are presented.